is Poetry: A Group Mind Discussion
the holiday spirit here is a short transcript about poets talking
about their craft and attempting to find a solution to the question:
What is poetry? No solution is found, but many angles of vision
are shared. Each contribution EMPOWERS everyone else. I add
my own commentary when appropriate.
It's about catching yourself thinking. You remember what you
just thought. All that is written down is natural. There's no
making up of things. Just remember your own mind. Especially
if it's interesting.
It's about that which approaches the inexpressible and is very
It's about harnessing every force of your conscious and unconscious
mind. When dealing with the unconscious you need to be patient!
This dis-association between the mind and body, thinking and
feeling is a modern disease. You need to unite both poles. Poetry
allows a reconciliation between the body and the mind.
chooses a poet. It's hard to know what chooses a poet when.
But a good one recognizes it when it does. It's a blessing and
is a constant disparity between reality and the language. Poetry
is a hopeless and desperate pursuit of reality.
you're writing from the right place. Your rational mind is not
running everything and parts are coming from places that you
don't know at all. Which are intuitive and not limited to your
about playing on hunches and being fascinated by the magic of
need to tell the truth.
need to change the world a little bit. You're looking at oneness
and how aloneness rubs against it.
a form of possession. It's an art form which has been around
as long as any language has been. It's about things that grab
us. We don't grab it.
the compulsory and elementary cry of the human being. It's about
what it is to be on earth.
like falling in love. You see something. You experience something.
You touch something and then the words come. You feel very excited.
Hot and cold. You shiver with both happiness and some kind of
a huge enterprise that you undertake in a struggle against death.
is an urge and a function of language. Language fuses with metaphysical
and psychological needs. Poetry is about big and small things.
It's how language has the possibility to transform a percise
sentence into a beautiful fragment of a great poem. Humor and
eternity can both be in a poem symultaneously.
use all kinds of lines. You want to race down a poem. Then you
use these skinny little lines. If you're bursting with detail
the lines are pushed farther out. You just remain alert and
leave nothing to chance. But we don't really know what it's
about. Nobody does. We just do it....
you think in forms. How the poem will look on the page square.
Like a sonnet maybe. I sometimes see it in a dream visually
the first lines. For a poem I once saw the first 4 to 6 syllable
couplets for the first stanza in a dream. Then I skated from
I think in rythm. Forward pulsation rythms. How the vowels collect
themselves in this way. How the consonants collect themselves
around the vowels as I mouth them in my body. You make it up
as you go along. Like a blowing through a saxaphone. Pulsating
cadences with a forward rythm that's prior to the selection
of an idea, word, or picture.
cadence first. The vowel next. The consonants or two scattered
into the next. Suggesting a word, suggesting a picture. Filling
the rest next....
Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows....
Moloch whose skyscrapers stand in the streets like endless Jehovahs....
Moloch whose factories dream and croak in the fog....
Moloch whose cities are crowned with smokestacks and antennas...
When I was in Moscow. I was coming out of Vosnestsky's apartment.
He asked me what language I thought it. I said Spanish, sometimes
English. He said: I just think in rythm....
KALAKALANG! Those Moscow bells you know....
Kerouac would mouth syllables not knowing what they really meant
sometimes. Hr rolled ahead on the vowels. You see you need a
vowelic breath. You need solidity of the vowels. The poem that
breathes unobstructed is spiritual.
My poems start as images or ideas. Complex pictures. Imagined
enacments. moving, movement. The rythm is the driving origin
of a poem. As it comes out it causes the rest of the poem to
follow into that. Rythms reflect deep things within us. Where
we were at that time in our life. The different conditions of
one's psyche in different times. An interesting mystery. Finding
your forms and voice are very close.
Things add up towards some poetic orientation. A purpose emerges.
It's about being interested in certain kinds of rythms and ideas.
You become a vehicle that's already set up for the messages
of this orientation that you already know. You position yourself
The sun was through silk like water through coffee beans...."
Dreams are another reality that exists symultaneously with this
one. Poetry is a way of accessing this divine space where you
forget yourself and what you're doing.
like a spin of broken sky...."
Something comes at you sideways like in a dream. You need to
stay close to the dream.
It's like moving between different doors of reality. Between
dreams and reason. The ultimate reality.
It's about changing habits of syntax, repeating words, and ways
of shaping a poem and forbidding yourself recourse to any of
them. It's about finding out what you've never done or have
ceased to do. It's about discovering new ways of sound by force.
It's about making a new verbal machine. It's about making different
kinds of speech.
You write to balance yourself and prevent yourself from falling
It's about redefining history and it's important for the human
race. It's about documenting and monitoring things.
just dissolve and one speaks as a creature of the planet. Things
intimate and secret are uttered. A species talks directly with
full force about what it's like to be on earth. This is when
You don't let the words use you. You use the words instead wisely.
You can't get lost in your own world of private references.
You see everything from different angles until the words disappear
and you're finally faced with the subject itself....
It could be that there's one word that it's all we need...."
Poetry is at the edge of your little perceptions and the vast
How poetry comes to me, it comes blundering from the boulders
outside my campfire, frightened....I go at the edge of the light
to meet it. "
I like this definition of ANY kind of writing. The poetry zone
is between the vast unknown and the limited unknown. Poetry
illuminates the darkness. Poetry is about constant redefinition
of what is already known. Two Short Stories struggles to push
beyond the limited known into the vast unknown from multiple
directions. Many of them sometimes quite surprising even to
Poetry is a channeling from anothe realm. Spirits help the poet
in his losing battle to see more about the unknown. The striving
is the most important. The actual accomplishment is never fully
known. It's about seeing the ultimate reality behind the physical
world. About going to the other side of the curtain so to speak.
Poetry is a powerful human need. We will die as a species without
it. Poetry speaks more directly and intimately from one human
being to another.
Poetry speaks about what really matters.
A poem is a gift to the language. A gift back to what the language
has given you. It's a real debt to one's own species. It's a
debt to the language. Poetry must keep us alive to the world
around us. To our relationships to each other. To our feelings.
Self-awareness is now being lost in the west. Not so in more
older shamanistic cultures where multiple perceptions are not
blotted out by a single one.
Poetry can be seen as a shamanic exercise. As a way to explore
the emotions and thoughts of the inner mandala through rythmic
use of the outer rim vehicle of language along with the images
that an outer rim vision supplies. The outer rim vision and
voice is transformed by poetry as it's used to gain access to
inner mandala thoughts and feelings. The more touched the outer
rim is by the inner mandala the richer the outer rim becomes.
It becomes rich with blessings and gifts from the inner mandala.
The outer rim returns the favor by becoming a spiritual vehicle
continuously for the inner mandala. It becomes a constant spiritual